Why were Spain so dangerously underestimated?

  • Why were Spain so dangerously underestimated?

Why were Spain so dangerously underestimated?

DSC_0496 " ( CC BY 2.0 ) by  jit bag

The reigning European champions began Euro 2016 in search of their third successive triumph at the tournament, but pundits and bookies alike didn’t seem to believe that Spain could go all the way this time. In their emphatic win over Turkey, the players showed exactly what they are capable of though, and the doubters have been well and truly silenced.

Spain went into this tournament behind Germany and France in bookies’ estimations, and there was much debate over how the squad would fair after a dismal showing in the World Cup. Vicente del Bosque’s men failed to make it past the group stage then, and it was unfathomable how such giants, who had dominated world football for so long, had put in such a meek display. That, coupled with the lack of form of key players such as David Silva and Cesc Fabregas, meant that Spain entered this tournament with odds of 5/1 to win in the Euro 2016 betting.

After the demolition of Turkey in the second group match, however, those odds have been slashed to 10/3, and Spain are now the bookies’ favourites to retain the title. Spain showed exactly what they are capable of in that match, and the 3-0 win meant that they were the first team to score more than two goals in a match in Euro 2016. Del Bosque’s men looked like the side of four years ago, as they dominated the game with 61% possession.

The third goal was an incredible effort involving 22 passes and nearly every member of the team. Andres Iniesta was at the heart of everything and his incisive, pin-point through-ball to Jordi Alba, who supplied the assist for Alvaro Morata’s goal, was sublime. Morata, who has been linked with a move to Chelsea or Manchester United, also showed how dangerous he can be after calibrating his sights on goal. After a slow start against the Czech Republic, this is the most cohesive looking side the competition has seen to date.

Spain are now unbeaten in fourteen matches at the Euros, having won eleven and drawn three. The last time they were beaten was in 2004, and they have gone 690 minutes without conceding a goal. These are not the figures of a team that has cause for concern.

With Croatia as their final group game, Spain only need a draw to top Group D. If they can carry on performing like this, however, there is an excellent chance they will claim all three points. Winning the group will put them against a third placed team and there is a strong sense that they will be able to carry this momentum all the way to the final now.

With France looking far from convincing up to this point and Germany stumbling with a 0-0 draw against Poland, Spain are in pole position to show the world that they are still the greatest team in Europe. Many stand to regret underestimating them.